This is the book I started with and it was just what I wanted. Gave the history and much of the religious symbolism in the gardening. He comes across as a very strong Japanese patriot. A highbrowed audience intended. High quality instructions. Vague, philosophical ideals. Insists (like many of the others) that you can't simply collage together Japanese elements to make a Japanese garden. You must keep the spirit as well.
This one, while echoing that you can't simply cobble together a Japanese Garden, gives the tools to do so. Each chapter introduces a certain element, gives an example of the sort of mood it can create or enhance, then proceeds to tell how to apply it. His instructions do not seem to be as thoroughly professional as Cave's, but they are more accessible to the casual amateur. Has useful lists of plants.
This one was a nice middle ground between the two above. Chan is not nearly so intellectually highbrow, but still keeps relatively high standards. He gave interpretations of Zen gardens, whereas Cave insisted the viewer must find the interpretation for himself.
As the title says, small projects that can be done in one to three weekends. Definitely intended for small scale application. And of course many of the projects can be combined, making a summer long project, if desired.
This one was oddly refreshing. While all the books have given an overview of the historical development, the others were all more or less the same. Oguchi's perspective/approach is unique. Also different, the others gave both examples of famous gardens and some of their own designing; Oguchi only shows his own designs. He has a(n acknowledged) more flamboyant style in the gardens than is advised in the others. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I would definitely recommend it as a counterpoint to the others above.
Coffee table book. Beautiful pictures, short pithy proverblike sayings. It says 'based on the Sakuteiki by Tachibanano Toshitsuna'-- a book I'd definitely seen references too; seems to be the 'bible' of Japanese Gardening. The editor went through and picked out gems and organized them by topic, so I would hardly think of it as a translation, which they certainly don't claim!
As a subcategory, I took a quick foray into the Tea Ceremony. (Tea gardens with tea houses just for hosting the tea ceremony being a definite part of the gardening field, it was kinda natural.) However, the foray has turned out quicker than expected.
First I got a couple of books through the library. I tried the Japanese Tea Ceremony. It was a chore to get through. I finally set it aside and grabbed the next one-- Rediscovering Rikyu-- thinking that perhaps reading about the history would get me into it. Nope. I also had grabbed an encyclopedia. Have yet to crack that one.
I don't know if it's that they are too boringly written, too academic, if I'm just in the wrong frame of mind, or what. But I'm not going to force myself through them.
Finally, the children's book I'd ILL'd, Tea Ceremony, came in. That one I read straight through in one afternoon and promptly loaned to my little sister. This one was readable. It didn't strike me as dumbed down or childish in any way. But it was just enough detail for me to handle without overloading me. Conclusion? I don't think I'm interested in learning to perform. Maybe in my preteen and early teen years I would have enjoyed learning the precise motions and etiquette. But not now. Not with a little girl who runs everywhere she goes and another pounding my bladder. I know full well that the people into it would say that is precisely why I should learn-- I need a relaxing outlet. I think I prefer knitting to the piercing woodwinds in the last bit of the RotK soundtrack. That is relaxing and enjoyable. Without having to master headaches previously.
But I'm still voraciously reading about Japanese Gardening.
ETA-- It wasn't an encyclopedia. It's an almanac. It gives/recommends certain flowers, quotes, foods, memorials for each month. I glanced through June. Basically, be aware of the seasons.
I should be returning the tea books and picking up three more gardening books today!
I wouldn't have predicted pulling quotes from a knitting book, but here I am.
"People are always saying, 'Doesn't it take patience?' and the answer is, if it takes patience, don't do it. That's not what it takes,--it takes a real pleasure in doing fine handwork." (154)
I think Zilboorg put her finger on the issue. Knitters often get the reputation for being patient, but as she points out, that's not really the case. Sure, it helps at times. (I remember standing in a long line at the post office and knitting, which served to distract the elderly lady behind me so that she was much more pleasant to wait with!) But, no, I'm not patient in knitting. I like to get it done and get onto the next thing. To learn something new. To improve it. To change it. I'm always going mentally with it. I am able to sit quietly, wait patiently in line, etc because it is a real pleasure.
"'Everything has to be beautiful,' Anna says. 'A quilt, a kilim, a mitten, a sock. One of the most basic human needs is to make necessity beautiful We're all driven by necessity--all animals, all creatures--but humans make necessity beautiful.'" (153)
I think that's an excellent summary of the dignity of human life. The distinction between humans and the rest of creation. The drive to make beautiful. I think that lines up with Tolkien's theory of creation as worship!
Two books recommended to me for the Charlotte Mason approach to nature study/nature notebooks.
Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. This is a pretty heavy tome. I read the introductory bits which outline the philosophy and approach. Then I glanced through the remaining chapters on various subjects to get an idea of the examples. It was recommended as reference.
By heavy tome, I mean heavy tome. I told my sister-in-law it weighed five pounds. Then, curious, I stuck it on my scale. 4 lbs. 10 oz. I was a little off. Coincidentally it weighs the same I did when born.
And Leslie's Keeping a Nature Journal. This one seems much more practical. However, I do wish I had a few months of journaling on my own before I'd looked at it. Maybe I'll borrow it again after I've got a bit of experience.